By Michael Adamsky
One minute, I was standing in the picket line, chanting against Blue River Waste Management and their ecologically unfriendly practices; the next, the police are breaking up our protest. I read in the paper the next morning to see the headline on the front page: “Government Decries Activist Group.” My heart sank. The movement I had worked so hard to build in Smithville, had suffered a terrible blow.
The Smithville Campaign is the first in PeoplePower: The Game of Civil Resistance (York Zimmerman 2010), a game designed to educate players on how nonviolent movements work and grow. When I first got the opportunity to play PeoplePower, I have to admit that I was leery. Most of the time I’ve spent playing video games has been spent on games where you can shoot your way to victory (with the occasional sports game thrown in for good measure). Strategy games have never really been my thing because I usually don’t like to think and plan in video games.
However, I thought that PeoplePower, despite the fact that it really made me think and plan, was actually a lot of fun. Although the game has lots and lots of options and available courses of action, the game is surprisingly simple to understand. The tutorial is in depth enough that I understood how to play, but didn’t feel like I was being babied. The game is incredibly detailed, too, which is definitely a good thing for a strategy game. With tactics to weigh, connections to be maintained, and neighborhoods to win over, there is always something to do.
More important than the game’s fun level is its educational level. I learned how difficult it could be creating a maintaining a good image and how much trouble an obstinate regime can give to movements. I think the fact that there is no “easy” way through PeoplePower means that players are forced to learn as much as they can about nonviolent movements in order to complete the scenario.
All in all, I think that PeoplePower made for an extremely interesting, educational, and challenging play. It could be sold to schools or to students and then used as curricula, with students playing in class for a few days before being allowed to take the game home to learn for themselves. Activists could also use this game as a tool to train recruits. Once introduced to PeoplePower, other students like me may be surprised to find how entertaining and addicting the game can be.
Click here for a special promotion to help Nonviolence International when you purchase PeoplePower.
Acclaimed Nonviolence Trainer Releases New Book
George Lakey, founder of Training for Change and visiting professor and research fellow at Swarthmore College, launched his book tour on October 21 in Washington, DC at an event co-sponsored by the El-Hibri Charitable Foundation and Nonviolence International. Facilitating Group Learning: Strategies for Success with Diverse Adult Learners, published by Jossey-Bass, encapsulates 50 years of experience in the field of adult education and social change. If you are a teacher or trainer, you will want to be the first to read this ground-breaking work.
Colman McCarthy Receives El-Hibri Peace Education Prize
The El-Hibri Peace Education Prize, an annual award to recognize outstanding peace educators, was awarded to Colman McCarthy on September 25, 2010 in Washington, DC. Mr. McCarthy has taught thousands of young people peace and nonviolence while writing numerous books and newspaper columns over the last several decades. NI President Mubarak Awad chaired the Prize selection committee, on which NI Executive Director Michael Beer also served.
NI helped found the award in 2007, along with Fuad El-Hibri, who has increased the cash amount of the prize this year to $15,000. Past winners include Dr. Addul Aziz Said, Dr. Mary King, and Scott Kennedy. For more information about the prize, including how to apply for next year, visit the El-Hibri Peace Education Prize website.
Sami Awad Stars in New Documentary about Palestine
Sami Awad, Nonviolence International Program Director for Palestine and the Executive Director of Holy Land Trust, is one of three protagonists for nonviolence in the new film, “Little Town of Bethlehem” (trailer below). A particular highlight of the film is a discussion with Sami Awad about his experience visiting Nazi death camps in Poland. The film also features Ahmad Al’Azzeh, a nonviolence trainer at NI’s partner organization Holy Land Trust, and Yonatan Shapira, an Israeli activist working with the group Combatants for Peace.
To promote the film, Sami will be speaking at press events and film sreenings throughout the US this month. For a list of currently scheduled screenings, click here.
A New Accompaniment Project in Honduras
An alarming number of human rights activists have been assassinated in Honduras since the coup d’etat in 2009. A group of dedicated international human rights defenders, including Nonviolence International’s Director of the Program on the Americas, Andres Conteris, is initiating a new accompaniment project in Honduras in an effort to counteract this trend. The accompaniers will seek to protect social movement leaders, human rights workers and others working for systemic change in Honduras, which is plagued by repression and political persecution under the de facto government. The project will especially support the National Front of Popular Resistance in its historic, nonviolent, struggle to transform Honduran society.
In addition to direct accompaniment, the project will support the documentation of events and human rights abuses, provide consistent and accurate information to the international community, and communicate with international partners regarding emergency response needs on the ground in Honduras.
The current team includes Caitlin Power Hancey, who has done accompaniment work in Guatemala; Jenny Atlee, who is based in DC and has done accompaniment work for many years in Central America; and Andres Conteris, who is serving as an active adviser for the effort.
For more information, including how to make contributions in support of this initiative, contact Jenny Atlee at jennya[at]friendshipamericas.org.
Mubarak Awad Gives Keynote Speech at Conference in India
Mubarak Awad, President of Nonviolence International, was the Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker at the International Conference on Global Warming, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Secular Spirituality in Kerala, India. On September 9th, Mubarak Awad, along with Jose Ramos Jorta, President of East Timor, spoke about the need for global cooperation and local initiative to combat global climate change.
He shared an Arab view of global warming, noting that, with a corrupt political leadership, economic hardship and civil strife, few are paying attention to the heating of the earth. “Oil production soon will be in decline,” he said. “Vast changes in citizen consciousness and action are needed. A commitment to nonviolence should engender people to take risks without harming others.”
Mubarak will continue to speak this fall in various venues about nonviolence and Palestine. Those who would like to have him come and speak should quickly contact NI at info[at]nonviolenceinternational.net.
An interview with Nonviolence International’s President and Founder, Mubarak Awad